Linda Alford's competitive baton twirling club, the Dynamics, made its debut in a Fourth of July parade in 1976. Since then, the Dynamics have represented Howard County and Maryland across the globe, winning 10 world championships and 94 national team titles. Her twirlers have won individual titles including Miss Majorette of America and Grand National Twirling Champion. Over the years, “Miss Linda” has instilled in hundreds of young athletes, from age 3 to young adults, the desire to achieve excellence in their sport and in all aspects of their lives. She has emphasized the need for them to be young ladies with high goals and high ideals. She has been their coach, their role model and their mentor. 

Don Dunn learned to play golf on a free public course in Pennsylvania. When he moved to Howard County in 1965, there were no affordable courses for youngsters to learn the game or for seniors to enjoy the sport. He became a “pest,” lobbying the county council and, later, the Columbia Association, to build public courses. He wrote letters to the editor, showed up at meetings, formed the Howard County Golfers Association, served on the boards of the Howard County Recreation and Parks Department and First Tee, worked to get candidates who agreed with his agenda elected to councils, and eventually convinced the county to issue revenue bonds to pay for courses. Today, Timbers of Troy and Fairway Hills public courses are testaments to his persistence. 

As a sports reporter at Patuxent Publishing, Carol Gralia at some time or another has written about almost every athlete in Howard County. From her early days in the late 1970s when she began working with local adult and youth recreational teams to get their game results in the newspaper, Carol has covered everything from the America’s Cup race to swan boats and the entire lineup of high school sports to ensure that athletes get to see their names in print each week. She is loved and respected by athletes, parents and coaches alike. Carol served as Sports Editor of the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times for 10 years before retiring in 2012. An award-winning journalist, Carol is also a co-founder of the Howard County Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. 

To say that Lew Oppenheimer loved softball might be an understatement. He was a player, a coach, a coordinator and a sponsor who wanted everyone to love the game as much as he did. Since the 1980s, Lew gave hundreds of athletes the opportunity to share his passion by sponsoring several women’s and coed teams every season. He generously paid for everything -- uniforms, equipment, league fees and tournament travel costs -- for his teams, including the Columbia Stars, Lew’s Crew, the Terminators and the Dragons. He only asked that his players show up early to warm up and then play their best. Lew used softball to bring adults together to enjoy not only the sport, but the people and the fun. Lew, who died tragically in 2011 while in Phoenix for a women’s tournament, has touched countless lives through his favorite pastime. 


Like many parents, Durvis Roberts’ involvement in soccer began when he decided his daughter needed better coaching. That was in 1978; Roberts has been a fixture in the Soccer Association of Columbia/Howard County ever since. Roberts attended clinics to learn the game, joined a men’s team to try the skills first hand, and got his officiating license to better understand the game. He’s first and foremost a coach, often coaching two teams each season, but he has also served as a neighborhood coordinator, the South District recreational coordinator, an age-group coordinator, and the U-15/19 girls recreational coordinator for SAC/HC. Durvis helped start the first girls recreational Select program as a bridge between recreational and travel teams. Durvis is the second longest-serving, active coach in SAC/HC history. 

Miles Weigold joined the Howard County Striders in 1977 and soon became more than just a runner. He has volunteered at every level in the club, from packet pick-ups to weekly race director to president. Miles helped modernize the club with computerized finish-line processes, organized the Columbus Chase 10K races that benefit Howard Community College’s Education Foundation, started the 2-mile Columbia Birthday runs, and was race director for the first Columbia Triathlon (1984). Miles always stressed the need for the Striders to not just promote fitness through running but also to use its organized manpower to help the community. He set the best example, serving for 21 years as the race director of the BWI Airport Run/Walk that benefits the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Down Syndrome Clinic. Miles, who now lives in Arizona, is a member of the Striders’ Hall of Fame.